Metz are the modern embodiment of SubPop Records. The label, which was founded in 1986 in Seattle, are famed for signing acts like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. They are seen as vital players in the popularization and widening of grunge music and are as revered now as they were circa ‘In Utero’. Metz are a trio from Toronto, Canada who put out their self-titled debut LP last year on said label. Their album is the sound of a live band. It’s pulse is the drums, it’s blood is the guitar and the melody gets lost in all the noise. Their constant gigging and refreshingly effortless punk rock manner has turned them in to an outfit truly worth celebrating and a truly contemporary manifestation of the SubPop cool in an Tumblr-age where being genuinely contemporary is more premeditated than it’s ever been before.
One of the things that got people (namely Pitchfork) excited about Metz was their practice-makes-perfect philosophy that went in to their debut. This is demonstrated tenfold on the live stage. Cuts like ‘Headache’ and ‘Wet Blanket’ are executed with such a biting scuzziness and hellbent freneticism that it’s like all the bedroom-superstars of the past year are kicked out off the party by the real tough guys. The best example of this comes in the form of ‘Dirty Shirt’ which is two and a half minutes of aggression and vigor channeled just as perfectly live as it is on record. Their godly tightness when playing and undying commitment to such past times as head-banging and standing on the bass drum is a rare find. As the set nears it’s end it’s as if they’ve only just started playing. The Metz live show is nothing but an onslaught of raw energy and liveliness from three men who might have been born in the wrong era, in the best possible way. The mosh-pit that breaks out in front of the well-ornamented Deaf Institute stage is a vision of frustrated young (and some old) men hearing exactly what their friends don’t listen to. It’s an age-old scenario but one that still packs quite a punch.
Metz play a short set, there is no encore and the room is sweaty. In less than an hour they have transformed the second floor of a chic inner-city bar in to a sweat box fit for anyone who has ever clenched a fist. If that’s not the part SubPop have always played in the landscape of contemporary music then I don’t know what is. Metz, yet again, prove themselves to be a band of force, belligerence and unmatched vitality.
Words: Duncan Harrison